mlestochi
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Very Little Fruit This Year

Hello:

I live in northern CA and my tomato crop was very poor this year. I had 4 plants (2 beefsteak, 1 ace and 1 better boy) that have lots of foliage with a couple pieces of fruit though the fruit was small, my grape tomato plant produce maybe 12 tomatoes and my roma plant had a large number of fruit though small. I am thinking that I messed up from the start by tiling in chicken manure when I planted the in April/May. I used miracle 4 times through out the entire summer and was watering every 3 days for 35 minutes.

We are still getting nice weather and we will continue for about another month. Is there anything chance that I can still get these plants to produce? What should I do differently next year?

Thanks,
Mark

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gixxerific
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if it was fresh manure than that COULD be the culprit. A lot of Nitrogen in the soil will make large bushy plants at the expense of fruiting. Sorry got to go or I would go more in depth maybe later.
Look up NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphourus, Potassium) and the roles they play with plants.


Good luck

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digitS'
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Do you live near the coast, Mlesstochi? Tomato plants require nearly 2 months of warm weather to go from flower to ripe fruit. It could be much longer if your weather is cool.

If so, Gary Ibsen of Tomatofest has a [url=https://www.tomatofest.com/tomato-seeds-cooler-coastal-collection.html]"Cooler Coastal" Tomato Seed Collection (click)[/url]. Tomatofest is in Little River, California.

Then, there are the good folks at Oregon State U: [url=https://extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening/osu-develops-tomatoes-especially-pnw-gardeners]OSU develops tomatoes especially for PNW gardeners (click)[/url]

Steve
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

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rainbowgardener
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Both good responses. Tomatoes (generally though this is affected by variety, day length and other factors) need about 1300 growing degree days to ripen:

https://www.walterreeves.com/gardening-q-and-a/tomato-how-long-to-ripen/

A GDD is how many degrees the average temp for the day is above 50.

Here's an e.g. from the article:

Example: High temp = 68, low temp = 42
68 + 42 = 110
110/2 = 55
55 – 50 = 5 GDD

So if your temps were staying as in that e.g. it would take 260 days or more than 8 months to ripen an average tomato!

If you were having highs of 80 and lows of 65 you would have 22 GDD per day and it would take about 60 days/ 2 months to ripen that tomato.


But I also agree with gixx. Chicken manure is very hot, very high nitrogen. Ordinarily you would apply it in the fall and let it break down over winter. And adding Miracle Grow on top of that FOUR times, sounds like way too much nitrogen. All that nitrogen leads to big leafy plants that don't fruit much.

Tomato Tone is an organic fertilizer designed for tomatoes. Its NPK formulation is 4-7-10. So it is definitely higher in PK than Nitrogen.

I have two tomato plants in my front yard, in good rich soil. I added nothing but some compost. Today I just picked off all the full size green- blushed tomatoes off them (so I could pull the plants and put in fall stuff) and that was over 100. So I am thinking over the season,including today's harvest, I have probably gotten 400 full size tomatoes from those two plants.

Sometimes less is more. Sounds like you were trying too hard.
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gixxerific
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Yes Tomato Tone is a godsend for tomatoes. I know a LOT of people that swear by it.

suncitylinda
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TomatoTone has not been formulated to 4-7-10 in years. Currently it is 3-4-6 and not that great IMO as a stand alone unless you have extremely good soil to start with.

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gixxerific
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suncitylinda wrote:TomatoTone has not been formulated to 4-7-10 in years. Currently it is 3-4-6 and not that great IMO as a stand alone unless you have extremely good soil to start with.
Haven't ckecked lately and am out at the moment. But the tomato junkies I know, I mean hardcore tomato junkies swear by it. Why would you ever start with un-good soil anyway's. :lol:

Back to the OP.

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rainbowgardener
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Just using the T.T. as an example of the fact that fertilizer for tomatoes should be higher in PK than N. I wasn't even particularly recommending its use. As noted, I got a bountiful harvest with nothing but compost and mulch.
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mattie g
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rainbowgardener wrote:Just using the T.T. as an example of the fact that fertilizer for tomatoes should be higher in PK than N. I wasn't even particularly recommending its use. As noted, I got a bountiful harvest with nothing but compost and mulch.
Same here, rainbow. I'm still fairly novice in regards to tomatoes, but I think I've done a pretty good job growing tomatoes organically the last two blisteringly hot years only by using compost, compost tea (with a dash of fish fertilizer included in it), and mulch. It seems to me that tomatoes do just fine if you don't "overlove" them. Feed, water, and prune them as necessary and they'll provide in multitudes.

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